A day in the life of an Interior Designer

Our wonderful resident Interior Designer Nina Souter gives you a feel for her typical 9-5.

On an average day my alarm goes off at 6.50am after a few presses of the snooze button. I finally get up at 7.10am. After showering I make a cup of tea and have breakfast, usually porridge with almond milk, blueberries, a spoon of peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.

It’s difficult to decide what to wear in the mornings as my days can be so varied. I could be on a building site in the morning, followed by buying accessories & styling pieces for a show home come afternoon, before finishing the day in a client meeting. I try and wear something smart but comfort is a real factor. Especially when going from High Vis & hard hat first thing to smart-casual by the afternoon!

I get to work before 9AM and like to start the day with a quick team meeting, with a cup of tea of course! The girls laugh at me as I absolutely love using and organising our cool magnetic Project Management Board, created by the lovely people over @ Fast Signs. I colour coordinate it and section tasks into ‘To Do’ lists by day of week.  Things often crop up and change quickly on client jobs so how you originally plan your day is rarely how it turns out! Being flexible and adaptable is a must as an Interior Designer. We constantly re-prioritise our ‘to- do list’ and have to constantly re-communicate with the Team. They need to know if jobs, orders and trades need to be ordered/reordered or changed/amended, in line with our Client’s timescales.

We have a new client on board! I’m working with Tyson Construction on their  project: The Gables in Lytham St Anne’s – a new complex of 19,  2-bed apartments.  The apartments are due to be opened in March. As it’s a short turnaround, today I am working on the initial ideas ready to meet with them next week. I have so many ideas, I love working my way through to the best bits for the initial concept stage with the client. Katie, our Founder & Director and I, often work together when designing. We have so many great ideas individually that we bounce off each other when we discuss. We always start the design process by getting under the skin of  the client’s brief. We try to get inside their head whilst also considering their age, their co-habitees and how they like to live along with their key lifestyle traits. For example do they need a large family kitchen/ dining area or more a traditional lounge? Have their kids flown the nest and they now have spare room?

We then start collating our ideas & look for further inspiration. Sometimes we have a scroll through Pinterest or Houzz for top-line ideas.  Sometimes a fabric sample or new wallpaper collection alone  can lead us to the foundation of the design. Once we have the bones of a scheme it’s time to develop it and think how it could work practically. We then go back and forth working on the furniture layout; thinking practically about the room dimensions before choosing pieces & finishes. Finally we get to the soft furnishings and window treatments. We put all our ideas onto a mood board ready to present to our client.

What’s your favourite part of the job? 

I am a creative person and ultimately love designing.  Breaking down a client brief and turning it in a beautiful scheme is an art  I thoroughly enjoy. Making clients happy is such a rewarding part of my job. People can be overwhelmed when they see how we have transformed their space into a look they always wanted. Often something they could never quite vision themselves or perhaps lacked the confidence to do.

What do you do after a day’s work? 

I am an active person and hate sitting still so most evenings, I go to the gym. I find this helps me relax and reflect on my day. I often think of new ideas while on the treadmill. Tonight I will be going to a hot yoga class, which really helps me switch off and calm my mind. I really enjoy cooking too. On tonight’s menu I will probably make my famous Stilton and Broccoli soup. There is usually lots left over so I will have the left overs for lunch tomorrow.

Read Nina’s and the rest of the Team’s bio’s here: http://www.thedesignhousemanchester.co.uk/meet-the-team.html